Dracula! at the Civic Theatre

Coming – October 20-23, 2022

The stage at the Ocala Civic Theatre soon will be “darkened” by the performance of Dracula!

Ocala Art Group members have had unusual painting parties lately. Their Bats!!! that will hang from the Civic Theatre ceilings and will be for sale during the run of Dracula in October. Several OAG members will also participate in the Dracula Exhibit. Their paintings are still under wraps, but we’ll add photos of them later. You won’t want to miss these! This project has taken members out of their “comfort zone” and into the shadows of gothic horror, but what fun!

Thank you, Jan Tindall for all your work organizing this OAG venture at the Theatre.

Photos below courtesy of Jan Tindall.

OAG Painting Party at All About Art


Sept 12 OAG Meeting

Location – Brick City Art Center
11:00 — Executive Board Meeting
12:00 — Socializing (bring your lunch)
12:30 — Members Meeting
1:00 — Brainstorming Session (bring your ideas)
1:30 — Creative Sparks Presentation (bring a drawing surface and drawing tool)

A Thank you from Lee Asta, President

Dear Vivian,
      Thank you so much for all your hard work and strong Leadership during our Brainstorming Session at our September Meeting.  Members present at the Brick were encouraged to give their input as to how to improve our Art Group’s various elements such as Meetings, Demos, ARTventures, Trips, Workshops, etc. 

        As the President for this past year, I was so pleased to see that our efforts to follow our OAG MISSION STATEMENT for educating Members as well as the Ocala Community, did NOT go unnoticed.

        Be assured, as a FORMER TEACHER, these educational elements were ALWAYS on my mind AND ALWAYS WILL BE!!!! Thus, it appears that this past year’s Demos, cultural trips to Movies, Shows and Museums, as well as our WELL ATTENDED Intergenerational Mixer, ARTventures, and even our Luncheons, were greatly appreciated for their socialization aspects, as well as the education they fostered.

         Lastly, we appreciate our meetings being brought up for IMPROVEMENT, as this was next on our list of things to do also!!!My Board and I were already working on them and have come up with somewhat radical changes to BOTH our Board AND Members’ meetings, but MUCH NEEDED ONES AS WELL!!! CLICK HERE + TO SEE WHAT WE HAVE COME UP WITH!! We will assess these changes at the end of tthe year to see how we liked them??????

         Hopefully, this Brainstorming Session is just the beginning for our art group to work together to help make this an attractive and fulfilling means to foster CREATIVITY (and its appreciation) for all concerned!!!

         Thanks to all who contributed!!!   
Sincerely, Lee Asta, President

Brainstorming Summary
Below are the suggestions from the OAG members that were present at the 9/12/2022 brainstorming session at the Brick City Art Center. Following the suggestions, the members voted (up to 5 votes per member) for the suggestions that are the most important to the member.

OAG Website

  • Revisit/understand purpose and mission statement (18)
  • Add more links from other artistic groups

Call to Artists

  • Help with applications (3)


  • Exec board – meet via Zoom on another day (9)
  • Agenda for members meetings (12)
  • More demonstrations and education (18)


  • Get togethers/lunches (4)
  • Plein air adventure, sitting outdoors (6)
  • Educational trips (18)
  • Open studio day (8)


  1. The OAG Purpose and Mission statement need to be better understood by all members to ensure that the group is on track with its activities to meet the purpose.
  2. Education is highly important to the member, learning about art types, mediums, styles and processes. The education component can occur during/with an OAG meeting (demonstration) or an outside location, such as part of an Art-Venture. More hands-on learning and interactive activities are preferred.
  3. Members also want to improve the quality of the Meetings, both in time-management and in organization. Suggestions for these include:
    1. Provide a general Agenda for the Members Meeting.
    2. OAG Exec Board should meet via Zoom and on a separate date from Members meeting.


+ Thanks to Vivian Drawneek and her Team, a lively Brainstorming Session was able to timulate the OAG Board to forge ahead to make some much needed changes to the meetings held by the Board and also the meetings for the Members. 

         These changes will be instituted TEMPORARILY  for the remaining 6 meetings at the Brick and will be studied at the end of the year to decide if these changes will remain or further changes would be necessary????

           In an effort to shorten Members Meetings, most Business Reports from our Board’s work/Projects will be posted on our WEBSITE so there will be NO NEED to include such in an IN PERSON MEETING when held at the Brick Center. THese meetings will mainly be for reviewing details for upcoming art show venues or other Projects.


All Board Meetings will now be held on the FIRST MONDAY of each month via ZOOM from 10:00-11;30. THIs would even be for tose months with TRIPS and Luncheons…unless cancelled by the President due to lack of business!


Members’ Meetings will still be only 7 per year at the Brick City Center during the following months: Sept., Oct., Nov., Jan, Feb, Apr.  AND May.

Two Luncheons in Dec.and Jun.

Three ARTventures: March, July and August.

Members’ Meetings will start at 11 for a very brief meeting for business (if needed).

Demos immediately start around 11:20 – 1:00. Meeting ends at one and Members can go as a group (or individually) to a local restaurant for eating AND socializing. We can set up reservations from SIGN UP DONE AT MEETING UPON ENTRY INTO THE CENTER. 


BOARD MEETING= via ZOOM week before Regular meeting…on FIRST MONDAY …from 10-11:30.

MEMBERS’ MEETING= at Brick from 11-1:00. Go to lunch at 1 if want to socialize

Board will vote on this at the first ZOOM on October 3rd to try this till end of year in June. …Cathy please add to NEW business…thnx

Sounds just like what we needed!!! Thanks to Susan Fink for working these details out with Sandra Fox!!!

Leesburg Art-Venture Aug 10, 2022

BATS!! BATS!!! for Dracula – August 6

NOTE from Jan Tindall
It has come to my attention that many members aren’t aware of the importance of the bats.  They serve a two-fold purpose: one is a gift to the Civic for their decor and the second is that we can sell the bats at that first weekend performance and the Civic gives the money to us as a group.  What a great and fun way to make money for our club to use as we please!  We are hopeful that we can establish a good relationship with The Civic Theatre and perhaps get a yearly exhibit there.  They also want to use pictures of bat-painting parties in their promotional materials so really turn out for these and show what a fun and active group we are!  By the way, the bats are fun, simple projects like clip art and not great works of art.  Anyone can do this!  Email me (jtindall01@gmail.com) to let me know which party you intend to sign up for so I can plan accordingly.  We hope to also have one at The Civic, but no date yet for that one.
Thanks, Jan Tindall

More info.. please READ ON…!

Several of you have been worrying about how we are going to paint bats. This is going to be a BLAST!  The bats will hopefully all be cut out before painting days. I’ve enclosed a few rough sketches (below) to get the creative juices flowing. These should be simple but well done. Remember that the bats are black and colors are painted on.

We will be using glow-in-the-dark paint for at least the outside bats (how cool will that be!).  If anyone else has spare acrylic paint that they could donate, it would be appreciated. Bring your own brushes and have a ball!

And here they are…. our first bats!

FROM LEE ASTA – August 6th at All About Art in Belleview was our very first “Going Batty” session. Thanks go to Cathy Burnside, her Granddaughter and her Granddaughter’s boyfriend, who cut out 30 Bats for us to decorate!!!! Thanks go to Donna Damato who owns AND DONATED the beautiful Belleview facilities—for doing all our “OUT OF THIS WORLD “Batty creations at All About Art in Belleview!!!!! If you stop by there to see it’s fantastic art…Donna has recently joined OAG, please thank Her for this “kind act” to help us out with this very challenging assignment!!!!! Thanks to Jan Tindall for setting this whole “Dracula Project “up! Believe me: there is a behind the scenes story to go with this project!!!

Check our website to see the Call to Artists for the particulars for the Challenge of our lifetime: creating DARK paintings inspired by the Ocala Civic Theatre’s Play “Dracula”. Contact Jan Tindall to find out if we are invited to help out painting the scenery for this show AND LASTLY, watch for details to attend the October 23rd, Sunday, 2:00 Matinee. Send a check made out to Lee Asta for $30, so she can purchase tickets for us to sit together (or near) at this Performance. Of course, we will also be eating somewhere (before or after the show). Send check for $30 made out to Lee Asta at 1941 Palo Alto Ave., Lady Lake, Flo. 32159. Deadline is September 1st as tickets sell fast!!!! DON’T miss out on an “out of this world” experience!!!! AND……Thanks to our First Veep (Iris Kaplan), we may have future Projects involving Music n Murals!!!!! Do Not Miss September’s Meeting at the Brick for more exciting developments!!!! The stories are unbelievable!!!!! See you Wednesday for our Leesburg ARTventure!!!!!          

Your President,

            Lee Asta

I need someone who likes to make phone calls …. call me: 352-223-7687….it is really simple!!!!💜💜😍

Sent from my iPhone

Attending delicious lunch are:

Left to right: Gail Bannock, Jan Tindall, Dori Sullivan, Cathy Burnside, Heather Doherty, Iris Kaplan, Jan Kiszonak and the photographer, Lee Asta. One latecomer was left behind in the classroom to work on her Bats. As we were going out to eat, she walked in!!!  …. Our dedicated member: Marge Picard stayed and worked on her Bats!!! Thanks Marge!!!!

     Check website for October’s Dracula inspired fine arts DARK Show at Civic Theatre. We have potential to possibly hang this show afterwards at another venue. Keep your fingers crossed AND  Stay tuned!!!!! Lee

Appleton Museum -July 13, 2022

Well, this could be a statue of me, your President…but it is THE Appleton’s THE THINkER! I returned from our OAG trip on July 13th brimming with new knowledge….thanks to our IN-HOUSE Docent , Ruth Dexheimer. Never underestimate her!!!! She prepared well to not only provide us with lots of Art history , but also lots of Art principles , performing arts costumes and scenery details AND farm facts….and it goes ON!!!!!   There were even jokes and humorous antidotes!!!

I can not emphasize enough what an interesting afternoon we 14 members experienced at the Appleton!!! 

Then we headed to a FUNKY local restaurant, MOJOS  and had a delish luncheon. I was ready to continue with more ARTSY adventures till I had a dental emergency (not serious…Thank God!!) I then had to leave the festivities and head to my Dentist for some aid!!! I am sure the others headed on to do some ART exploring!!!!

Mark your calendars for our NEXT OAG trip…second Wednesday in August because Sue Fink n Sandy Fox are at it planning an ARTSY Adventure in Leesburg!!!!contact Sue Fink and let her know to include you!!! What a FUN group we have!!!!

Ruth…thank you so much for such a wonderful, exciting and Artsy day!!!!! I know you did a lot of work for this…. And….it really showed!!!!! We appreciate you so VERY much!!!!!

Lee Asta

We all had such a wonderful time at the Appleton Museum today. Thank you to Ruth Dexheimer for being our docent and giving us a wonderful tour. Fourteen of us attended this OAG adventure and most of us got together at MoJo’s for a delicious lunch after.

Gail Bannock

The Appleton Museum is one of Ocala’s gems. A highlight of our tour was the Beauty and the Beast exhibit on display until January, pairing the imaginative and opulent costumes from the recent production at Ocala Civic Theatre with period art and artifacts from the Museum’s collection that inspired the designs.

Barbara Fife

Photos Courtesy of Gail Bannock

Villages Daily Sun Interview- June 7-2022

President of the Ocala Art Group Lee Asta, of the Villages Palo Alto, poses with her paintings in her home.

India Pantin, Daily Sun

Villagers add a storied art group to their roster as the Ocala Art Group, celebrating their 72nd year, features several Villages residents, including its president, Lee Asta.

Article by Michael FORTUNA, Daily Sun Staff Writer

Several Villages residents have spread their artistic wings, heading a few minutes north to join the ranks of the Ocala Art Group.

During her first year with the group, Lee Asta entered one of her paintings into an exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art, where it won best in show. At the time, Asta was in New York visiting when the winners were announced.
When she came back to The Villages, she stopped in Ocala on the last day of the art show.
“I have to see my painting in a museum,” Asta said. “That will be etched in my memory. It was cool.”

The Ocala Art Group, entering its 72nd year of, existence, is made up artists from Ocala, as well as Leesburg and The Villages. “They brought an energy that only Villagers could bring to a group,” said Asta, of the Village Palo Alto. “They do a lot of volunteering. If they were closer, they would be more involved in the workshops of the group.

It’s hard to get them involved because they’re so far away, said Asta.

She joined the OAG in 2003 and became its president in 2021. When she joined, she had a few years of making art under her belt. She started out in the Visual Arts Association during the late 1990s, leaning toward making mixed media pieces with acrylics.

With the OAG, she helped out in the hospitality department, working her way up to vice president, followed by president.

“The people that volunteer are just phenomenal artists through and through and they’re caring,” Asta said. “I’ve made such nice friends. We enjoy one another’s company.”

Since becoming president, Asta has met several local dignitaries, including Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn. It was the first time she had met any mayor.
“I shook his hand,” she said. “That was impressive to me.”

In February, the OAG rents out the Brick City Center for the Arts, where it hosts an art show, invites an outside artist to critique the paintings, and hosts an artist mixer co-hosted by the Marion Cultural Alliance. “Everybody came in and hung out,” Asta said. “I’m looking forward to doing this again.

Iris Kaplan joined the OAG about a year ago after judging one of the group’s shows during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I like the idea of being able to show art in some galleries outside of the Villages”, said Kaplan, of the Village of Pine Ridge. “The group is smaller, more intimate.”

Kaplan, who has created art for a good portion of her life, including as a fashion designer, enjoyed being a part of the Stroke of Genius exhibit in February, where works were inspired by masters of the art world.

“They just try to do interesting – creative shows,” Kaplan said. “We’re creating different, exciting venues so the artist can show their work at the best level.” She also became a member of the OAG’s board.

“I can contribute a lot more,” Kaplan said. “It makes me feel like I’m doing some­ thing special.”

For information on the OAG including how to join, visit ocalaartgroup.org. All members must pay a $35 annual fee.

“There were times when the group was struggling but it recovered,” Asta said. “I’m seeing a good sign, but we need people willing to come help the group. The potential is so great.”